LITCHI HIKARI CLUB by Furuya Usamaru

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In the beginning, there was theater. Between 1985 and 1986, the Tokyo Grand Guignol theater company staged Raichi Hikari Kurabu (Litchi Hikari Club) and a young Furuya Usamaru watched those performances in awe. Deeply impressed by the narrative and aesthetic imagery of the play, Furuya decided to pay homage to it with a manga version published from 2005 to 2006 in the magazine “Manga Erotics F.” The series captured the public’s attention, becoming one of the most well-known and appreciated works of Furuya’s entire production.

The story revolves around a group of nine boys, led by the charismatic and perverse Zera, and their exclusive nazi-like club called Hikari (Light). Besides aiming to create the ultimate artificial intelligence, the group strives to make youth and beauty eternal, trampling on any moral principle. Combining the most brutal aesthetics of the Grand Guignol with a drawing style full of grace and elegance, Furuya addresses themes such as the adolescent refusal to grow up, the corruption of body and spirit, and the clash between youths (light) and adults (darkness). Extreme nihilism, physical and verbal violence, abuse, but also hope and redemption.

A “dark” work that has spawned an animated series, theatrical adaptations, and a superb live-action version in 2016 directed by Naitō Eisuke. The fifty-three panels displayed here in an exclusive world premiere are part of a new project related to this cult Japanese comic, which Furuya has decided to redraw and color entirely by hand. A unique opportunity to admire Furuya’s extraordinary art and to present some panels from a book soon to be published by Coconino Press.

Text by Paolo La Marca

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